REPRIEVE as Foreign Ministry gives stranded Kenyans in India another chance to return home

REPRIEVE as Foreign Ministry gives stranded Kenyans in India another chance to return home

The Foreign Ministry has given Kenyans stranded in India  another chance to be able to fly back home

The Kenya High Commission in New Delhi is seeking details of the Kenyans wishing to return home following the extension of Covid-19 related restrictions on international flights in and out of India to 1st September 2020.

The move comes after the Kenyan Government successfully arranged for the repatriation of a number of its citizens who were stranded in India due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in the months of May, June, and July.

In a statement released on Monday, High Commissioner Willy Bett notified all Kenyans who may be stranded in India and wish to return to Kenya before the Indian airspace is opened in September to compile and submit their information.

“Submit a list containing your names, passport numbers, and telephone contacts to Kenya High Commission in New Delhi through email: by end of business on August 12, 2020,” the envoy said.

The information will assist this mission in deciding the next course of action that is helpful to mitigate the plight of stranded Kenyans.

The commissioner further stated that it is advisable that the Kenyans in India join virtual groups and notify this mission of their nominated representatives to ease coordination.

The public has also been notified that the Kenyan airspace is currently open to international flights but conditions must be fulfilled before anyone can travel to Kenya.

Individuals must be tested and obtain Covid-19 Negative certificate within seven days before departure and must be ready to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine period imposed by the Government of Kenya upon arrival in Nairobi.

The Star has established the number of Kenyans who have been repatriated so far.

A source told the Star that over 1,000 Kenyans have been repatriated so far through two KQ flights and about three Vande Bharat Mission (Air India) flights.

 KQ 205 carries around 220 people inclusive of staff approximating to 200 people in 5 flights.

“It is yet to be established how many Kenyans are here but we have requested them to send details. Once we have the data we shall be in a position to tell,” our source stated.

Details of Raila, Orengo and Murathe meeting at CS Munya’s [Photos]

Details of Raila, Orengo and Murathe meeting at CS Munya’s [Photos]

Details have emerged of a secret meeting between ODM Party leader Raila Odinga and Jubilee party vice-chairman David Murathe hours after Murathe boldly stated that plans are underway to have Odinga succeed President Uhuru in 2022.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe met over the weekend at the home of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The leaders had attended the initiation ceremony of Munya’s son Karauni Munya with Siaya Senator James Orengo also in attendance.

Former State House digital director Dennis Itumbi on Sunday, August 9, leaked a video in which Orengo was speaking at the event.

Among the political issues discussed in the ceremony were the revenue sharing formula and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“We cannot forget that at the end of the day we are serving people, we want people to live decent lives and I am sure with the leadership of Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, Kenya will earn respect. We only have two years to have BBI passed, let us continue working together,” noted Orengo.

Raila was on Saturday, August 8, endorsed by Murathe for Presidency, a move which was later backed by Central organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

Murathe stirred a storm after asking Kenyans to prepare for Raila’s presidency in 2022, comparing his situation to former South African President Nelson Mandela.

“We think it’s time Kenyans rewarded the years of struggle of Raila Amollo Odinga. They owe it to him. It’s like Mandela, and 2022 will be a Mandela Moment.

“And we would also like to tell him (Raila) to be a transitional President who will then nurture the young generation to take over in 2027,” stated Murathe.

China sends fighter jets as the U.S. offers Taiwan ‘strong’ support; Analysts See Move as Warning to US

China sends fighter jets as the U.S. offers Taiwan ‘strong’ support; Analysts See Move as Warning to US

Chinese air force jets briefly crossed over the midline of the Taiwan Strait on Monday and were tracked by Taiwanese missiles, Taiwan’s government said, as U.S. health chief Alex Azar visited the island to offer President Donald Trump’s strong support.

Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday as the highest-level U.S. official to visit in four decades, a trip condemned by China which claims the island as its own, further irritating Sino-U.S. relations.

China, which had promised unspecified retaliation to Azar’s trip, flew J-11 and J-10 fighter aircraft briefly onto Taiwan’s side of the sensitive and narrow strait which separates it from its giant neighbour, at around 9 am (0100 GMT), shortly before Azar met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s air force said.

The Chinese aircraft were tracked by land-based Taiwanese anti-aircraft missiles and were “drive out” by patrolling Taiwanese aircraft, the air force said in a statement released by the defense ministry.

The incursion was only the third time since 2016 that Taiwan has said Chinese jets had crossed the strait’s median line.

Amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, the Trump administration has made strengthening its support for the democratic island a priority and boosted arms sales.

“It’s a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Azar told Tsai in the Presidential Office, standing in front of two Taiwanese flags.

Washington broke off official ties with Taipei in 1979 in favor of Beijing.

Azar is visiting to strengthen economic and public-health cooperation with Taiwan and support Taiwan’s international role in fighting the pandemic.

“Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture,” he told Tsai.

Taiwan’s early and effective steps to fight the disease have kept its case numbers far lower than those of its neighbors, with 480 infections, including seven deaths. Most cases have been imported.

The United States, which has had more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country, has repeatedly clashed with China over the pandemic, accusing Beijing of lacking transparency.

Tsai told Azar his visit represented “a huge step forward in anti-pandemic collaborations between our countries”, mentioning areas of cooperation including vaccine and drug research and production.

Taiwan has been particularly grateful for U.S. support to permit its attendance at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision-making body the World Health Assembly, and to allow it greater access to the organization.

Taiwan is not a member of the WHO due to China’s objections, which considers it a Chinese province.

“I’d like to reiterate that political considerations should never take precedence over the rights to health. The decision to bar Taiwan from participating in the WHA is a violation of the universal rights to health,” Tsai said.

Gatanga residents to benefit from the Northern Collector water

Gatanga residents to benefit from the Northern Collector water

About 40,000 residents from Gatanga in Murang’a County are set to benefit from clean water supply upon the completion of the Northern Collector Tunnel.

According to the area Member of Parliament Ngugi Nduati, the government through the Ministry of Water has agreed to give a share of this water to the locals.

Ngugi said this is a major relief for the residents who have for a long time been fetching water from the rivers.

“We had intense lobbying negotiation on this matter and finally we got what we have been pushing for,” said Ngugi.

“The President has promised us that before the water goes to Nairobi, the locals shall get a share of it and this is what we have been pursuing,” he added.

The MP said they have already identified the areas where the water shall be supplied and the piping shall be done in the next three months.

“We shall tap water from the Kigoro treatment plant and channel it to the intended areas,” he said.

Ngugi has been among the leaders from the county who have been pushing for the residents to get a share of the Ndakaini water as part of the compensation for the water supplied to Nairobi.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water Joseph Irungu who toured the area to commission a borehole in Ithanga said the government is working to increase water connections countrywide.

He said the Ministry is racing against time to sink 193 boreholes in five counties which make up the Nairobi Metropolitan. They include: Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos, Nairobi and Kajiado.

“We have so far done 93 boreholes and we intend to have the remaining 100 completed in three month’s time,” he said.

The PS said the boreholes will offer solutions to dry and areas without water.

“The demand for water is high especially during this corona period when people are required to observe high level of hygiene,” he remarked.

Irungu said the government aims to have increased water connection in the whole country to 80 percent by 2022.

Irate Speaker Lusaka links DP Ruto to revenue sharing impasse

Irate Speaker Lusaka links DP Ruto to revenue sharing impasse

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio are accusing DP Ruto’s henchman Elgeiyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen of mischief in the deadlock over the revenue sharing formula set for debate in the Senate tomorrow.

The two accuse Murkomen, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto, of acting in bad faith by successfully seeking an adjournment motion over the matter but subsequently failing to send a team to the mediation table.

Murkomen, alongside side senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), and Ledama le Kina (Narok) are leading a caaucus of lawmakers who have christened themselves as Team Kenya.

The group is composed of Senators whose counties stand to lose and few gaining in the proposed formula snubbed a request to nominate five of them to join a reconciliation committee that Lusaka mandated with getting a solution to the impasse.

In separate interviews yesterday, the Speaker and Poghisio allege that Murkomen did not come with clean hands when he sought an adjournment motion last week on the scheduled vote, deferring the decision on the issue for a record seven times.

They also espy hidden hand in the impasse claiming the senators are acting on the behest of a senior politician.

“When they sought for adjournment last week, the idea was to build consensus and come up with one position that was to be presented to the House for debate next Tuesday.

One side gave names and we were prepared to carry on with the negotiations but the other side (Murkomen’s side) did not, this means that the consensus-building we were looking for does not apply,” Lusaka said.

“In the circumstances, the matter will come up on Tuesday, and just like we have handled other matters in the Senate a vote will be taken on the amendments, thereafter  a vote on the committee report will also be taken,” the Speaker added.

Lusaka said since the debate started, the House has been dealing with amendments but the committee report was yet to be touched.

While expressing his frustrations with the Murkomen axis, Lusaka regretted that lawmakers had lost an opportunity to ventilate on critical issues during the adjournment period which was supposed to strike a reconciliation.

“But in the circumstances, we will have to take the vote on Tuesday so that we let the majority have their way and minority have their say,” he said.

He lamented that the House cannot continue adjourning and putting the country in abeyance because “if they cannot agree now, and if the previous attempts are anything to go by they will not agree”.

Veiled attack

“I don’t see (senators) agreeing anytime soon,” he held even as he ruled out any possibility of having a Kamukunji this morning to strike a compromise.

As Lusaka spoke, Senator Poghisio was accusing his predecessor of playing to the gallery and political posturing at the expense of his colleagues and Kenyans at large.

In a thinly veiled attack at Murkomen, Poghisio said the Elgeyo Marakwet senator and his team may be working at the behest of a senior politician, who is not “keen” on having the House reaching consensus and that their failure to submit the list of their nominees to the mediation team only confirms their worst held fears.

According to him, the solution on the contentious formula was to be found in the 10-member team meeting and burning the midnight oil, but it has not happened, “my thinking, the adjournment was mischief and it was not for us to talk.”

“The big mistake is that they have concluded that they have a solution, and when you go to negotiation with that kind of mindset, you are likely to make a mistake.

I want to continue reminding them to find a middle ground, we must continue talking to each other,” Poghisio said.

According to him, while the faction that supports the committee formula has given dialogue a chance including accepting adjourning to talk, and also gave names for the mediation, which is a good gesture on their side, the other side seems not to understand.

“You cannot come up with your solution and insist it is best. I think tomorrow (Today) everybody goes with their own formula, we deal with it, if you want to buy time, just do that but it will not settle well until we reach a place where we can talk to each other,” he said in a salvo at Murkomen’s camp.

Proposed amendment

 He, however, faulted Team Kenya that announced on Friday in a press conference that it had thrown its weight behind a proposed amendment by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, which seeks to further amend the proposal by Senator  Sakaja that is already before the House.

“They have seen that their agenda won’t go through. They are keeping the other side busy, posturing as they prepare themselves.

There was no goodwill to discuss. The same person who was asking for adjournment, has already come up with a solution.”

To justify his motion, Murkomen had told the House that there was need for legislators to build consensus that will ensure the formula adopted by the House is acceptable to all the 47 counties, and that no county will receive an allocation that is significantly lower than what it received in the last financial year.

Meanwhile, Sakaja has said that his team is “moving very well and has a solution”.

In a phone interview with People Daily on Sunday, the Senator revealed that he and Linturi had agreed to reduce the base.

“We are yet to agree on how much we are reducing it to but we have agreed to lower it from Sh316.5 billion.

We are meeting again tomorrow (today) to agree on the base. So, we have made progress,” he noted.

Sharing Sakaja’s sentiments, Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr however said that no agreement had been reached as there were ongoing informal meetings in the city.

“We can see if we can agree. The formula is coming up for a vote on Tuesday. Everybody is meeting.

We shall agree on the way forward from here. But we are supposed to have a Kamukunji on Tuesday.

This is one of those things we want to agree up on,” he said.  Linturi’s amendment wants the baseline of the allocation to counties pegged at between Sh250 billion and Sh270 billion, which is a significant dip from Sakaja’s proposal.

While Sakaja’s has proposed that Sh316.5 billion, which was the total equitable shareable revenue to counties in the 2019/20 financial year, be treated as the base, meaning that every county must get the same share it received in the last financial year.

Linturi, whose is among those whose counties are gaining, suggests that out of the Sh316.5 billion, the range between Sh250 billion and Sh270 billion should be shared equally among all the 47 counties, with the difference being subjected to the formula developed by Sakaja.